Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager and now an adviser in his administration, pushed back Friday against claims she defended the White House's refugee ban with an assertion that appears to be factually indefensible.
Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball TV program on Thursday night, Conway referred to the "Bowling Green massacre" as part of her attempt to justify Trump's temporary restrictions on refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
"I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre," Conway said
"Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered."
However, early Friday Conway said she misspoke when she used the phrase "Bowling Green massacre." Really, she said in a tweet that links to an ABC News article, she meant say "Bowling Green terrorists."
In the tweet, Conway linked to a mainstream news item from 2013 despite complaining in her appearance on Hardball that the mainstream media didn't cover the episode.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 3, 2017
Either way, it seems likely that the incident Conway refers to didn't get covered in the way she initially described it because there is an overwhelming consensus that there was no massacre at all. In fact, her use of the phrase "Bowling Green massacre" suggests she came down with another case of the 'alternative facts.'
Two Iraqi men who lived in Bowling Green, Ky., were indicted in 2011 and are serving life sentences for using improvised explosive devices against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and also for attempting to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers. The Department of Justice says so — right here.
But there is no mention of anything that resembles — in any way — violent offenses that can be characterized, even informally, as a "massacre" or terrorist attack in Bowling Green.
Here is what Merriam-Webster says about that term:
Definition of massacre
1: the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty
2: a cruel or wanton murder
3: a wholesale slaughter of animals
4: an act of complete destruction
On Conway's claim that Trump's refugee ban resembles a similar move taken by Obama after the two Iraqis were arrested in Bowling Green, USA TODAY previously reported that this is also not true. The Obama administration imposed additional background checks on Iraqi refugees but did not stop or ban Iraqi resettlement.
Trump’s executive order bans visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria — from coming to the United States for 90 days. It also suspends for 120 days all refugees coming to the U.S. Obama administration officials and fact checkers say Trump has inaccurately characterized Obama's moves.